NBC’s All American Summer Shows

NBC’s All American Summer Shows
American Gladiators, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Circus, America’s Got Talent & More

 

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Antonio Sabato, Jr

Are you ready for a summer of thrills, chills, laughter, tears, heartache and triumph? No, it’s not the Olympics, not just yet. We’re talking about NBC’s upcoming shows, which the network says is the biggest line-up of original summer programming in TV history.

To put the spotlight on their highly anticipated “All American Summer” schedule, NBC had their stars gathering at the prestigious Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena.

Hulk Hogan, Laila Ali, Bill Bellamy, Kate Flannery, John Rich, Rachel Hunter, Antonio Sabato, Jr., Simon Cowell, David Hasselhoff, Jerry Springer, and many more were there to talk to the press about the new season. The bulk of the shows are reality competitions, such as American Gladiators, Last Comic Standing, Nashville Star, Celebrity Circus, and America’s Got Talent.

This summer, Hulk Hogan said folks can celebrate America with the return of American Gladiators, premiering Monday May 12 on NBC. “It’ll have new challenges, new twists, and great new gladiators like the seven-foot goliath we call The Beast. It’s a show that packs a wallop,” says Hulk, the host of the show and a man who’s given out a few “wallops” as a WWE champion.

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Bill Bellamy

Also on hand was the super-likable Bill Bellamy, host of Last Comic Standing, which premieres Thursday, May 22. Bellamy explained, “We’re not only looking for funny people, but personalities as well. People who have something special.”

This season the show will go to the wannabe comics’ hometowns, and the viewers will learn their stories. “It’s not just about doing standup now. It’s about getting the audience invested in a comedian. We want them to care and vote, and launch the career of their favorite guy or girl,” said Bellamy.

Bellamy revealed that the female comics have it a lot tougher than the guys that do standup. “The women have evolved and they’re bringing fresh stuff to the table. Not just dating routines or self-deprecating humor. But still they have to be ten times better than the guys just to stand out. We’ve got some strong women competing who win over the audience. You’ve got to see how great they are.”

Country music star John Rich, of Big & Rich fame, is one of the judges out to find the next singing sensation on Nashville Star. The NBC talent show premieres June 9, with host Billy Ray Cyrus.

Rich said wishes he could have been a competitor when he was starting out. “This is a real good opportunity for someone not only to become a country star, but also an American superstar. Because country music has the most diverse audience out there. They love everything from Patsy Cline to Big & Rich,” Rich explained. “My biggest thrill is to see a grandma at our concerts wearing a ‘Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy’ tee-shirt. I love the country fans.”

Celebrity Circus is an exciting new competition premiering Tuesday, June 11. It showcases famous folks outside their comfort zone, as they attempt dangerous circus stunts such as the high wire, fire dancing, the flying trapeze and the wheel of death.

Among the fearless stars are model Rachel Hunter, Brady Bunch alumnus Christopher Knight, Olympian Janet Evans, actress Stacey Dash, and daytime hunk Antonio Sabato Jr. who said, “We’re training every day, from morning to night, doing crazy stuff.” All had to prove they were healthy enough to join the “Circus,” getting physicals. Sabato added, “We got an EKG, the whole bit. It was serious stuff. It was like joining the military.”

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Jerry Springer

TV icon Jerry Springer leaves behind all the mayhem from his daytime wacko-talkshow, to nurture and console the competitors as host of America’s Got Talent, premiering Tuesday, June 17.

Talking with Springer over the years, I’ve found him to be a dichotomy. His lifetime credits include being a lawyer, award-winning newscaster, country recording artist, Dancing With the Stars performer, political pundit and mayor of Cincinnati.

He still has a strong interest in politics. And when I asked if he’d ever consider tossing his hat back into the political arena, he replied, “I just may.”

Hey, Ronald Reagan became president. Arnold Schwarzenegger is California’s governor. Clint Eastwood became mayor. So I think Jerry Springer would be great too. At least he’d be fun to watch.

And NBC will be fun to watch this summer. I’m ready to start cheering and jeering the competitors in some of the wildest games on the tube. Followed by the Olympic games, starting 8-8-08, also airing on NBC.


Frank Barron is the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, having served twice in that capacity. In between, he was West Coast news director for Billboard Publications, supervising their five magazines. Barron also created the western TV series “The Man From Blackhawk” for the ABC network. For more than three decades he and writer-wife Margie Barron have covered Hollywood for Production Update magazine, and they currently contribute to numerous publications. Frank started in showbiz as publicity director for the KHJ radio and television station. Before moving to California, he was a sports editor in New Jersey.

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